An Update On Our House

Wow. You’d think I’d have something a bit more profound to say, but perhaps I’m still in shock. So, wow. Here’s a quick update:

* We’re all OK. We were at church during the fire.

* Our house did burn, but is still standing. The fireman said it was likely because it’s winter, and the house was sealed up, so there wasn’t enough oxygen to keep the flames going. The part of the house where the main electrical line comes in is completely burned away, you can look down into the crawlspace from the bedroom door. While not official, the firemen think the main line in the crawl space is what caused the fire.

* Sadly, our 2 dogs (Tigger & Tux), our cat (Kiki), and my sister in law’s 2 dogs (Bruno & Ella) all perished in the fire. Their loss is the roughest part right now, as everything else that was lost is just stuff.

* The insurance company wasn’t reachable today. While I’m not sure if they’ll consider the house a complete loss, or will requisition to have it fixed, rest assured we do have insurance.

But all that isn’t why I came into work so I could update my website. The world could have waited a day to find out more details. I decided to drive into my office and update my website (while Donna is off buying underwear and such) because of how amazing everyone has been to us. Here’s a few of the things, other than our house burning down, that have been going on today:

* Before the fire was even extinguished, we had a place to stay tonight offered by friends.

* Before the fire trucks were gone, another friend from town offered to let us stay in a rental property he has while our insurance things are being worked out.

* The Red Cross tracked us down and gave us money to buy food and clothes.

* My cellphone (the one I have with me, my personal cellphone was in the house) hasn’t stopped buzzing from emails, tweets, facebook messages, text messages, etc. I have cried more today due to the outpouring of love than I have from the grief of loss. There really aren’t words to relay my thanks.

* Linux Journal put up a “Chip In” page, which is literally a link that people can send us money directly to my paypal account. It’s 7:00PM, and there’s already over two thousand dollars donated. That’s real money from real people, and we’re really humbled.

I really don’t know what to say. I really don’t. “Thank You” certainly doesn’t seem sufficient, but I think it’s all I can offer. So many people have contacted me, that I have no hope of responding to everyone, at least not in the short term. Just know that you’ve made me cry, in a good way, and today — that’s quite a feat.

So again, thank you. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. Thank you for your emails. Thank you for you cash donations. Thank you for caring. Because really, if nothing else, I’ve felt as though we are important to you all, and that has been amazing to experience.

-Shawn, from work.

91 Comments

  1. Just know you are loved and appreciated, Shawn. We all know you and we all know you’d do everything humanly possible for someone else in the situation. I’m very sorry for your loss, of the animals, of your home. Know that you are in my thoughts and please, if Tom or I can help you out (I’m sure Tom has a box of spare computer parts if you lost yours – you know the one all you geeks have that you never use, like old 28.8 modems and such?)… :) I’m kidding (kinda), but do know if you need anything, anything at all… we’re here.

  2. Oh, and since Shawn didn’t link to the ChipIn page that was started, you can donate by going to http://helpshawnpowersfamily.chipin.com/

  3. Colin Dean says:

    We’re here for you. You’ve contributed to our lives in one way or another, and now we’re reciprocating in whatever way we can.

  4. That’s because we love you Shawn.

    And please make sure you also get your prescriptions refilled.

  5. Katherine says:

    Ugh, now I’m crying. We adore you Shawn, and are all so sad we can’t do more from so far away.

    Like Candy said, please just make a wishlist of gear you need replaced (when you have time, of course). If anyone can help with that, it’s this crowd!

  6. Eric says:

    What everyone else has said: you’re loved and appreciated, and I’m glad your family is alright.

  7. gamerchick02 says:

    I’m so so so sorry for the loss of your pets and your house. I’m so glad everyone is ok,

    If you need any gear, do feel free to drop me a note.

    Amy (loyal viewer of your Linux Tips)

  8. Kate Baker says:

    Big hugs and kisses to your entire family. I will be sending a care package to your church Tuesday (no mail tomorrow). I am available at all times of day/night to talk or help with anything.

    You are in my thoughts and much love from my family to yours.

  9. Nathan says:

    Shawn,

    Our thoughts are with you and all of your family and we’re thankful that none of you were hurt.

  10. We’re here for ya, man. Let us know what you need to get back on your feet.

  11. moose says:

    My heartfelt condolences on the loss of the beasties. I’m so very sorry about this and I’m so glad the humans are safe. Take care, stay warm. If there’s anything I can do, please yell.

  12. Tania says:

    Shawn, you and your family are loved by many of us. Listen to Michelle, get your scrips filled, you’ve got enough stress on your body, don’t add anymore.

  13. hipdad says:

    Very sad Shawn. Sad that I can actually relate in feelings and emotions. My girlfriends daughter and her boyfriend perished in a fire on December 28th. They were only 19 years old. Funeral was 2 days ago. You hug your family really hard. I know the animals were family too.

    I Love Ya Man!

    Chris DeLong AKA Hipdad

  14. Chris says:

    Shawn,
    My heart goes out to you and your family. It is amazing how, in the time of need, people open up their hearts and hands to help. You have given so much to your community, and we finally have a chance to give back to you. All God’s blessings to your family right now.

  15. Janiece says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Know that you are LOVED.

    Stay strong, my brother.

  16. MWT says:

    Deepest condolences on the loss of the dogs and cat. :( Good to know that you and your familiy are okay and being taken care of.

  17. [...] friend Shawn Powers’ house burned down today (17th), and needs help. Would you help him out with a small donation? Any [...]

  18. klaatu says:

    I’m really sorry to hear about the fire. I was just listening to your interview on Linux in the Ham Shack today. Don’t stop doing what you do, and remember you’ve got lots of virtual friends out there. My condolences to your family.

  19. Carlie says:

    We have a lot of people asking about your girls — are there a few material items that would make their lives even a little easier today? Games, gear, books, gadgets, etc., etc.? We’d love to be able to get them a few things stat.

  20. @Carlie – he could set up an Amazon wishlist for them – that way it could be shipped to the wishlist address directly so he wouldn’t have to give out his mailing address… ?

  21. Renny Pomeroy says:

    Our church (IRUMC) is praying for you and your family and I’m sure they will be doing something to help. My family is also praying for you and the family and will be helping in any way we can. Much love to all of you!

    The Pomeroy’s –

    Renny, Jerry, Nathan, Shyanne, Kevin, John, Jen, Jasmin, Sarah, & Jonathan.

  22. Helping Shawn Powers…

    Shawn Powers, who edits Linux Journal and is a friend to geeks everywhere, lost his house to a fire today. I’ve never met Shawn in person, but we’ve traded lengthy e-mails and he’s a really good guy……

  23. Carlie says:

    @Candy Yes! Shawn, when you read this, please consider setting up an Amazon Wishlist for the girls so we can all ship some items to them.

  24. kim says:

    You are LOVED Shawn. You and all your girls….Feel the love we are sending to you, and know that you are in our thoughts and our prayers.
    You know how to find me if you need anything…. If I have it, it is yours.
    (and listen to Michelle, and Janiece..refill those scripts!!)

  25. Carol Elaine says:

    Shawn, I am so sorry, but very thankful that you and your family are well. I’m here for the Powers tribe if there’s anything I can do, hon.

    *hugs*

  26. neurondoc says:

    Shawn, we are thinking of you and your family out here. We are thankful that your human family is okay and sorry for the loss of your pets. I would like to third the suggestion about setting up an Amazon wishlist for the girls…

  27. Carol Elaine says:

    Fourthing the Amazon wishlist.

  28. Renee says:

    I just read your car accident story and your house fire story linked from someone on Twitter. Just wanted to let you know I’m praying for you.

  29. Carl says:

    It is good to know that friends are there when its needed. Those are real friends. I hope you get back on your feet real soon. My prayers are with you and all your family.

  30. Imelda says:

    I’m soooo sorry for your loos Shawn. Your family is in my thoughts and prayers as well as much of Houston!

  31. Kira says:

    Shawn, I’m sorry that you lost your house and the pets, but I’m happy to hear that you and your family are alright. I watch your tech tips all the time and they are very helpful. You’re always so friendly and good spirited. I don’t have much to give but I will give what I can.

  32. So sorry to hear the loss of your home and pets Shawn, I offer my deepest of condolences and prayers to yourself and your family in this time of need.

    I pray for you and your family’s recovery….

    Take care and god bless.

  33. Alicia says:

    I’m so sorry for the loss of your and your sister-in-law’s pets (as well as your stuff–which, while far less important than the living beings, is still important).

  34. Shawn: We are sending you and your family our love.

  35. writtenwyrdd says:

    I’m so sorry for the loss of your pets and your home, but I’m glad your family is safe. Best wishes for the future.

    (Found you via a link on Scalzi’s blog, btw.)

  36. WendyB_09 says:

    Thinking of you and glad you’re all ok. Sorry to hear you lost your pets though.

    Understand what you’re going through more than you’ll ever know. Was burned out by an electrical fire many years ago. Let us know what we can do for you and your family. Love to all.

  37. freezingeva says:

    Linked from Wil Wheaton’s blog. I am sorry for your loss. I will put your family in my prayers.

  38. Aileen Grabill says:

    Shawn,
    Anne’s sister here (a.k.a. The Grabill Family is confused). Deeply saddened by the loss of your furry family. That is something that can never be replaced. Having recently lost our dear doggie, my heart breaks for you! My thoughts are with your family as you get back on your feet. It is wonderful to know how people pull together to support one another at times like these.
    Kindest regards,
    Aileen

  39. [...] The editor of Linux Journal has had a very bad day.  His home has burned down and his pets were all killed.  His family is alive and well and they are in good hands.  If you can afford some charity, please send a little his way here.  Keep up with Shawn on his blog here. [...]

  40. Taco says:

    Just remember all of those donations are taxable income you need to report.

  41. Vince says:

    Shawn, prayers and hugs your way. I’m sorry that you lost your pets, but very happy noone in your family was hurt. Fell free to call/email if you think there’s something I can do to help.

  42. AG says:

    My strength goes out to you and your family. I do hope that your time of need will be minimal. Rest easy.

  43. Shawn, I’m glad that you and the rest of the humans are fine. I am deeply sorry for the pets and the rest of the house. I can’t donate much but I’m going to give you what I have. I wish you the best of luck to you and your family in the upcoming months.

  44. mattw says:

    You’re in our thoughts Shawn. Glad you’re ok.

  45. Josh Bokaie says:

    I am just so very sorry for your loss. I can’t imagine the pain you feel right now. Sending prayers and thoughts to you and your family. God be with you.

  46. Jason Brower says:

    Dang man. My thoughs go out to you! I am happy that everyone is safe.

  47. Kevin E. Ivey says:

    I just read of your terrible day… I wish there was more I could do for your family. Do you need any hideous Christmas sweaters? I’ll be praying for your family and grieving for the loss of your doggies! Thank God you are all well and please try to get some rest…

  48. Paul says:

    Really sorry for your loss; you’re in our thoughts.

  49. Anne C. says:

    Hugs to you and your family, Shawn. I’m so glad you and your family are OK and I can’t imagine the feeling of loss for your pets. My cats got a lot more lap time than usual on account of your day, but they decline to thank you, as they feel it’s really the way things are supposed to be.
    My deepest sympathy.

  50. Luis Correia says:

    hang in there mate, we’re with ya!

  51. Brandon says:

    on behalf of myself and my dog murphy we extend our deepest sympathies on the lose of your pets. best of luck to you and your family..

  52. xaethos says:

    Shawn, I’m terribly sorry to hear about the disaster. I’m particularly saddened by the loss of your pets; I know they can be family as well. On the other hand, I glad you, your wife and children are okay. Here’s hoping that all of you can get back on your feet as soon as possible.

  53. Erick Tyack says:

    Shawn, I am relieved to know you and your family are OK, and saddened to by the death of your family pets. Let me know if there is anything I can do to help. You and your family are in our thoughts and prayers.

  54. Kim Stahl says:

    R u all ok? What can we do to help? I’m so sorry! Send Donna my love and we’ll b praying. We don’t have much, But I will offer all that I can. Give me a list and I’ll do whatever I can to fill whatever we have to offer. I’m so sorry about your losses. You must all be devastated. I hurt for you!
    Love in Christ,
    The Stahls

  55. I’ve been there & done that, Shawn, so I know how you are feeling right now. It’s times like this that restore your faith in people and in God, because he does provide through those who care.

    I’m sorry to hear about your family’s loss, and I’m chipping in what I can. If y’all ever need to fly South for the winter, you have a place to stay in Franklin, KY!

  56. KR8L says:

    Shawn — woke up this morning thinking about you and your family. No words are adequate to express our feelings here. Just glad you are all OK.

    So, despite all that you have going on, you took time to think of others and post an update because you knew we would want to hear from you. You are amazing and you are an inspiration for all of us … we need more people like you in this world.

  57. Donna Walin says:

    Holy cow! I’m so glad your core family is well and safe.
    Blessings to your pets. It’s rough to lose them.
    You family is strong and will get through this.
    I, as well as the rest of your friends, are here for you and the family.
    Love to all

  58. Mary Lou Newcomer says:

    Shawn and Donna,
    I was so sorry and shocked to read about your housefire, and glad all of you are safe. You will be in my prayers.

  59. Janiece says:

    I’d like to third (fourth?) the request for an Amazon Wish List for the family. I’d like to send some things, and want to make sure you guys are getting what you want and need in the way of comfort items.

    Love again!

  60. Seanbo says:

    Shawn.. My thought and prayers are with you and your family. I can’t imagine what you are going through, but we’re all here for you and your family. Good luck with everything and keep your chin up.

  61. Jim Olson says:

    Shawn, my prayers go out to you and your family, and I grieve with you over the loss of your pets. You’re right, the rest – however sentimental – is just stuff that can be replaced. I know I’m a long way from you but holler if you need anything, even just to talk. I’ve been through two fire losses (thank GOD they weren’t my house) and I know the feelings that go with it.

  62. I am in complete shock. You have my prayers.

  63. Saqib says:

    I am sorry to hear about your loss.

  64. Sue Hoy says:

    Shawn and am very sorry about ur lose ur family are in my prays and thoughts all the time. Love Aunt Sue

  65. Stranger says:

    I’m glad all the people are okay, and sorry for your loss…
    may the animals rest in peace….

  66. I’m so sorry for your loss. My prayers are with you.

    Peace,
    Brian

  67. Carrie says:

    OH Shawn! I am SO sorry. I’m crying over the pets. That is the worst part. Like you said, the rest is just stuff. You obviously have people around you who care very much for you. Pull strength from them when needed.

  68. DanLopez2012 says:

    I have to chime in with the sudden loss of those you loved.. And agreed the house is just filled with stuff, and blessings that the rest of you are safe. My prayers for you and yours friend.

    Dan–

  69. [...] Sun­day, while Shawn Pow­ers and his fam­ily were at church their house burned down. While his fam­ily was safe; they lost all their pets to the fire. Shawn works for as the [...]

  70. Ryan Sears says:

    I am so very sorry to hear of your misfortune. I can only imagine what you’re going through right now… Just know my thoughts are with you and your family (even if you don’t know me), and I hope you manage to get back on your feet!

  71. stormy dickinson says:

    hey shawn, my thoughts and prayers are with you guys!! the loss of your stuff, well, it’s just stuff, but your pets – that’s so hard… thank God you, donna, jessica and the kids are all safe. i posted your chip in web site on my face book, already have a couple of family members “chip in” – one from virginia the other from port huron, our community grows! you guys have touched so many people over the last several years, now it’s our turn to pay it forward! God bless!

  72. Joe says:

    I don’t know Shawn, or his family, or anyone here. I happened here because I occasionally check WWdN: In Exile.

    I am saddened by his loss, as I too have felt loss for which there can be no comfort or replacement. Yet I am humbled too by the outpouring of support and compassion given to Shawn by this community. It gives me hope.

    Shawn, rest easy and find comfort in the support you have here. I wish you and yours a speedy return to normalcy, and in the interim, good luck and God bless.

  73. Heather says:

    I’ve rallied the Hickman Troops, Sir! We just need to know what size the girls are wearing these days. Honestly, I’ve lost track of how old they are…perhaps I don’t want to feel old. Moira has a ton of boardgames, books, etc, just collecting dust. She said that “sharing with cousins is one of her favorite things to do”. (she’s weird I know) Also, I know its not polite to ask a woman what size clothes she wears, but if you send me a discreet email via FB, then I can see if I have anything for your incredible wife.
    Do you need furniture for the rental house? I may have a 27″ TV for you.
    Peace, Love, and Prayers.
    Cousin Heather

  74. Chris Smart says:

    Hey Shawn,

    Praise God that you are all safe! From what I’ve read, you show the love of God to others that you meet and now is their chance to bless you in return.

    All the best with everything.

    Kindest regards,
    Chris

  75. Ben Eggenberger says:

    Shawn — I just realized — I have laptops! I mean DOZENS!!! Nothing fancy — I think they’re 1GHz with 512 MB RAM, or something — circa 2002. Anyway, as many as you want — yours for the asking! PLEASE let me know if you could use them.

  76. Nicole says:

    I read about your loss in Wil Wheaton’s blog and wanted to send some supportive thoughts and blessings from Germany over to you and your family. How sad that your pets died, I feel with you and hope everything will be right for you again soon. Will pray for you all!
    Nicole

  77. Smotsie says:

    Hey Shawn and family,
    I feel like I have come to know you from reading LJ and watching your crazy videos. Just know that people across the world are thinking of you now and hoping that you soon replace the material things you have lost. As for the irreplaceable, take comfort in the memories of good times – and you did back up your photos, right? (I MUST do mine!)
    Fond wishes from the UK
    Smotsie

  78. Madrigorne says:

    I am so very very sorry for your loss. You, your family, and your sister in law have my deepest condolences. Gentle hugs for all of you.

  79. Melby says:

    Came here via Scalzi’s post via Ghlaghghee’s tweet (as I’ve been slacking horribly with my blog reading). So very sorry to hear about what has happened. It’s amazing so many people have been so wonderful in your time of need, though. It’s times of crisis one truly finds out who their friends are, no? I wish you the best of luck in moving forward with your lives, and my deepest sympathies on the loss of the furry family members.

    (PS- your comment for the tickbox for email alerts is hilarious. I think I will likely be coming around here more often, if you don’t mind. You seem like an awesome person, which is only exemplified by seeing how quickly those who know you rushed to help however they could. I’m only sorry it took such an event for your blog to come into my radar.)

  80. jessica beaudry says:

    hey shawn, just wondering who has what phones and what not, because i am coming home this weekend, i love and miss you guys cant wait too see you either

  81. Danyiel says:

    Sorry to hear about your furkids, that’s got to be really hard on you and your family. But you’re right about everything else bing just stuff and it’ll take a while, but things can be replaced. Speaking from experience here, I know how frustrating it can be when you’re uprooted and trying to get affairs in order after such an unsettling event. It will pass, believe me. When all is said and done what you’ll be surprised about most is the renewed faith you’ll have in your fellow human, and believe me when I say that you’re going to need that support system for a while.

    What is truly remarkable to me is that by word of mouth (I learned about your ordeal through John Scalzi and Wil Wheaton and have passed on your story in my own blog), your ChipIn goal has been almost reached in a matter of two days. Never lose faith in Humanity, Shawn, people will pleasantly surprise you when you least expect them to. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers and even though it will be rough for a while, things will get better over time. May the rest of 2010 bring you nothing but good luck and kindness. Namaste and take care.

  82. bebe says:

    You are an image for the Linux community . At least for me . I love Linux . And i expect more Tech tips of the day …
    I am glad to hear that you and your family are ok . I am from Bucharest , Romania . And here Linux news are so few ….

  83. Dave B. says:

    Shawn- I’m a big fan of your Linux Journal videos; they’ve helped me innumerable times, plus they’re fun to watch! I just heard about the fire from Wil Wheaton’s blog, and I’m so sorry to hear about your losses, especially the pets. I am glad to hear of all the help your family is receiving from friends and strangers.
    I wish you well as you recover from this tragedy.

  84. Steve Schmunk says:

    Shawn- I was so sorry to hear of your fire and sorry for the loss of your pets (nearly family members). Thankful everyone survived. The fact that so many are rallying around you all and so quickly is a testament to the way you live and serve others. Keeping you all in thoughts and prayers.

  85. Bob Dobbs Jr says:

    See what you get for going to church?

  86. Marissa says:

    I stumbled on your blog after googling Netflix Wii disc & your humor made me explore further. After reading (and crying) about your tragic loss, I wanted to tell you that I can’t imagine the pain you and your family went through after losing your beloved pets. I lost my cat six months ago tragically and still have trouble coping. Thank God you were all unharmed. My heart goes out to you & I wish you all the best.

  87. Sam Benny says:

    Be strong Shawn,you may have lost all your stuff,but remember you will never lose God in your life.God will always help you for you were faithful to Him.I am deeply troubled about this mishap,but always remember everything works together for good for those who love the Lord.

  88. Harold says:

    I was really sad when I read the part that said the dogs died. I love dogs, and I consider mine as family members. I’m so sorry for your loss. Despite that, it is good news that your family is coping up well. I’m sure by now everything is settled.

  89. Michael says:

    Shawn, my deepest condolence for the loss of your and your sister’s pets. However, GOD is great the all of you remain unhurt with the mishap. It’s by Thyself’s grace that you are not out of the situation and getting back on track.

  90. Jacob says:

    Shawn, sorry to know about the mishap. I grieve with you over the loss of your pets. I lost one of my pets recently and I know how you must be feeling right now. It was nice to know that your wife and children are okay. I hope the best for you to get back on your feet as soon as possible.

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